#musicdiaryproject – Tuesday


I’ll put you out of your suspense: I listened to some music today. I know, I know. We’re all relieved.

I managed, as it happens, to hold out until gone 6pm, and before that had to make do with yet more…

Head music

1. ‘Barbra Streisand’ by Duck Sauce. Think I caught this in the office and couldn’t shake it for the whole morning. It infected the room surreptitiously and as only a couple of us knew the name of the funny woo-woo song, there was much confusion as other members of the team thought it was an actual Streisand number. Ho ho.

2. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Joy Division. We were talking about headphones at lunchtime, and when I bought some new ones recently I was alarmed by how different this precious song sounded. So it lodged for a few minutes

3. ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ by Leo Sayer. Because I saw a chap on campus walking in an odd way, putting one foot very carefully directly in front of the other. As I marvelled, I found myself warbling “You’ve got a cute way of walking…”. Initially I had this misplaced as, and indeed warped with, ‘Jive Talking’.

4. ‘Freefalling’ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. No idea.

Deerhunter – ‘Halcyon Digest’

Marge, our dog, has been on her own for most of the day, so I took her for a long walk up the hill behind our house. Deerhunter, and especially ‘Halcyon Digest’, seems like perfect walking music to me. It’s motive but not driving. It’s bucolic, which makes it perfect. When it came to the strangely amusing near-closing line “I lived on a farm/I never lived on a farm” I was here:http://bit.ly/gpIVK7

Nirvana – ‘Nirvana’

Twitter informed be that today is the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Once Deerhunter had gone, it seemed appropriate to listen to Nirvana, and this compilation is the only thing of theirs I own on CD, and thus the only thing on my iPod. That’s not a problem. I haven’t listened to them for some time, and hearing off-album winners like ‘Been a Son’ and ‘Sliver’ – my favourite Nirvana song – beats mining ‘Nevermind’ for fresh kicks. Boy do they sound good though. How strange to reflect that at the time he killed himself, his was the biggest young rock band on the planet. They married melody and power pretty uniquely. I was visiting Leeds when I heard they’d found a body at his home. I didn’t sleep too well, and then I cried when his death was announced. I remember John Peel saying that he always wondered if he should have taken him in and shown him a little Ravenscroft family love, and whether that might have saved him.

Back home, I came upstairs to make some notes and listened to:

Mudhoney – ‘Hate the Police’/Dicks – ‘Dicks Hate the Police’

Mudhoney brought to mind by Nirvana, and this is the track of theirs that most readily comes to me. I love it. Mark Arm’s vocal is ripping and the whole song is a blast. I had to buy it from iTunes to hear it. I’d never heard the original, so I bought that too.

Hole/Babes in Toyland – ‘Sugar and Spice’

Seemed to follow naturally. This split record has Hole’s 1992 Peel Session, which knocked me out at the time and still sounds great, plus some dodgy live tracks. I listened to the session for the first time in a decade. ‘Violet’ and ‘Doll Parts’ are still terrific. Then I flipped it over and got through two of the Babes in Toyland tracks. I loved Kat Bjelland’s band then and they sound raw and raucous now. Better than Hole by some considerable stretch. It’s no great surprise that the two women couldn’t get on in the same band. It must have been like trying to hold an atomic bomb together.

My wife came home at this stage, so I switched off the stereo to avoid having to explain what this noise was.

After dinner, upstairs to finish this off. I played

Earth – ‘Seven Angels’ from ‘Earth 2’

Which seemed appropriate in a macabre way. Dylan Carlson bought the gun that Cobain shot himself with, and later went on to record some of the most influential drone/doom music of the last 20 years. It’s strange music to listen to. It seems to be happening just below the normal range of hearing, but it’s affecting and intruiging.

Fugazi – ‘Cassavetes’ from ‘In On the Killtaker’

It struck me that with Cobain, Courtney Love and Dylan Carlson, we had all the necessary characters and circumstances for a decent murder mystery. Which led me to imagine Columbo arriving on the scene. Which made me think of John Cassavetes, via Peter Falk, and so this is what i’m listening to now. I’m sorry, my head just works that way. I never knew from the song whether Fugazi wanted me to like the film maker or not. Still don’t. ‘Great Cop’ comes straight after it, and that’s one of my favourite Fugazi tracks, so that’s good.

Update: I went right through ‘In On The Killtaker’ from ‘Cassavetes’ back around. I’m a MacKaye man at heart but I just wanted to say that Piccioto is amazing on ‘Smallpox Champion’ where he sounds like a crazed genocidal computer death lord from the future. In a good way. Fugazi sort of turned me into a music writer. When I had to submit a sample piece for the Leeds Student newspaper, I wrote a review of ‘Steady Diet of Nothing’. I interviewed Ian MacKaye once for the Big Issue. He was lovely.


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